Worship Connection: February 24, 2013

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Second Sunday in Lent

COLOR: Purple
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17–4:1; Luke 13:31-35

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: Open your hearts to God’s love today.
P: In the midst of winter darkness, we seek the brightness of God’s love.
L: Don’t be afraid. God is with you.
P: With the Lord’s help, we can overcome the darkness.
L: The Lord is your light and your salvation.
P: Even though everything around us is disturbing, yet God’s love is constant. Thanks be to God. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Today is a day to sing praise to God!
P: God continually blesses us, each and every day.
L: Even in the midst of cold and darkness, the warmth of God’s love is real.
P: We can count on God to be here for us.
L: Let your hearts rejoice and your voices shout praise to God.
P: For God is great and worthy to be praised. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2208, “Guide My Feet”, offer the following Call to Worship]Solo: sings the first verse, a cappella
L: The race is set before us.
P: We journey with Jesus to places unknown
L: Soon we will arrive in Jerusalem
P: But Jerusalem is noted for killing the prophets and those whom God sends.
L: Fear not! God is with us and will guide us on this journey of faith.
P: We place ourselves completely in God’s care.
Choir: sings the third verse, a cappella

Call to Worship #4

L: We are on a journey of faith. Jesus is our leader and our guide.
P: We place our trust in him.
L: As the daylight hours grow longer, our journey takes on a urgency.
P: We must prepare our hearts for Jerusalem
L: Do not fear! God goes before us, into Jerusalem, into the world.
P: Amen!

PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Lord, we come to you this morning with so many concerns and issues that demand our attention. Our lives are burdened; our spirits are tired. Guide our lives and our steps as we walk this Lenten journey, inward and outward. Help us to discern what you would have us do, that others may be healed. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

There is a certain winter in our spirits today, O Lord. We feel that the journey on which we have embarked will demand too much of us. There are so many other things in our lives which claim our spirits, our energy, our hopes and fears. It is easy to be like Jerusalem, turning our backs on those whom you send. The world shouts its solutions to us and then deserts us when we are in need. Forgive us for the many times in which we have strayed from your pathway of life; when we have chosen not to hear the cries of those in need; when we have belittled the gifts and skills you have given us in order to avoid serving others. Heal us, O Lord. Place us back on your path to Jerusalem, to live, for we ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

When God called your name, God called you to a journey of faith. Do not be afraid to look inside to see those things which are holding you back from being who God created you to be. Place your trust in God who is always with you, loving you into wholeness. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord, you called us to this journey. We aren’t very willing to let go of the things that bind us, even those which harm our spirits and diminish our souls. We cling to our problems as though they provide some degree of comfort and stability. Help us to let go of the pain, the problems, the chains that bind our souls. Open our hearts to hear your word. Place us on the journey with confidence and assurance of your presence. As we have offered the names and situations of those near and dear to us in our prayers this morning, help us to remember that we, too, are always in your loving care. When we have fallen, lift us up, Lord. When we think we can go no further, pick us up and carry us until we can walk again. When we wonder if you made the right choice in calling us to our ministry and mission, easy our fears, confirm our hopes, bless our hearts with your loving presence; that in all things you may be glorified. AMEN.

Litany/Reading

Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2208, have a soloist offer the sections as suggested below.

Soloist: singing verse 2 “Hold my hand”
Reader 1: I have such fear about this journey. There is so much going on in my life right now! I don’t think I can take on a Lenten journey. There are people whose faith is so much stronger than mine is. How can I serve the Lord? I don’t know what to do. I don’t have the fancy words that would bring comfort to the hearts of people who are troubled. I can’t even solve my own problems. You ask me to reach out and take your hand, O Jesus, but I fear that I may fall and falter. Hold my hand, precious Lord. Hold my hand.

Soloist: singing verse 3 “Stand by me”
Reader 2: I can’t do this, Lord. I can’t serve you. I can barely take care of myself. There are so many things which are burdening me right now. I can’t stand, or walk, or serve in the way you should be served. I fear that what I have to offer won’t be enough. I am sinking in my doubts. Lord, stand by me, please stand by me

Soloist: singing verse 4 “I’m your child”
Reader 3: I have heard it said that God has adopted us to be God’s own children. How can this be? Why would God want someone as lacking as me? I’m not sure what it means to be your child, O Lord. I don’t know if I measure up - certainly I don’t measure up to Christ. Sometimes I feel hopeless, discouraged. I need your presence and your love. You have called me your child. You have given me the name “beloved” - I am your child, Lord, I am yours.

Soloist: singing verse 6 “Guide my feet”
Reader 4: There are too many times which I feel as though I am spinning around in circles. I am called to go here; to go there; to be this kind of person; to be that kind of person. You have reached out to me, one who is called beloved , and you have laid your claim on my heart. I feel your presence with me as you hold my hand, stand by me, and call me your own. Now, Lord, guide my feet. I place all my trust and my life in your care. AMEN.

Benediction

Be strong in the Lord. You can walk in God’s ways, for God is with you, offering you peace, hope, courage, and joy. God’s love abides with you always. Go in peace.AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

Note: I recommend putting a brief paragraph describing or explaining the symbolism used in your visual display in the worship bulletin. This a good teaching tool for the congregation. 

The traditional color for this Sunday is PURPLE.

The theme for Lent is JOURNEY INWARD/JOURNEY FORWARD. The idea is that discipleship is a journey that is first lived inward, introspectively, reality-check, and then lived forward in service. The worship center will remain covered with the base cloth of burlap or other neutral rough material. Each week something will be added to the worship center and perhaps other things removed, until all are placed at the foot of the cross. I recommend that you have someone construct an “old, rugged Cross”, about 6-7 feet tall, on a free standing base. This cross will be used during Holy Week, but you want to plan far enough ahead to have it ready.

The focus of today‘s gospel lesson is the mission of Jesus which is misunderstood by Jerusalem. Jesus laments for the city that kills the prophets and does not respond to those whom God sends. God continually sends God’s love and message to us, but we turn a deaf ear, focusing instead on our creature comforts, ignoring the healing love of God.

SURFACE: Place several risers on the worship center. The tallest riser, approximately 1 foot above the main level of the worship center, should be placed to the upper left as you are facing the worship center. The other risers, about 4-6” high, may be placed, one at the center and the other slightly to the right of the middle one.

FABRIC: Cover the worship center in burlap or other neutral colored, rough fabric. On one of the risers on the worship center, place a piece of cream colored or rough blue fabric, approximately 15” square, draping over the riser. You will set a pile of rocks or bricks on this riser.

CANDLES: On the middle riser, place a white pillar candle, about 10” high, representing Christ. Place votive candles, arranged in clusters, on several of the other risers. Place a small pillar candle, preferably white or purple, on the riser on which you are setting the rocks or bricks for today’s worship. This is a reminder that the very fabric ofJerusalem will be in rubble soon.

FLOWERS/PLANTS : No plants or flowers on the worship center

ROCKS/WOOD Some rocks and wood may be placed on the center and at the base of the worship center. Select a riser on the worship center and place a stack of old bricks or large stones - these rocks/bricks represent Jerusalem. Smaller pebbles may be placed near the base of the rocks. The rocks will be set on the riser over which the cream/blue fabric panel is placed.

OTHER: No cross on the worship center at this time

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